For some reason today I was thinking back over the last few months, and it occurred to me that there are some streets close by I have not walked for some time that early in lockdown I seemed to walk daily. It’s one of those things that tell me this period has had a trajectory, and although probably in years to come in many history books lockdown will be described as a homogenous period, it has had its twists and turns just as any period of time has. Twists and turns for individuals and for all of us. So I decided to walk a route that was part of my routine in that early part of lockdown, a route that took in shops and streets on the way to where I was delivering groceries. I didn’t include Sainsbury’s at the Elephant, but it’s weeks since I have been there either.
Much seemed the same, but on one street I was struck by the pile of brown leaves that had blown up into a pile in a corner. We started this lockdown in spring and the trees were coming into leaf. Now we are at the end of July, summer is past its peak and already some leaves are turning. I feel as though time has slipped by me, that I have stood still and it has flowed around and beyond me. It is a feeling echoed by my neighbours opposite. They are both working from home. In a one bedroom flat that is quite tough. One of them has described it more as living at work.
They went on holiday in February and returned as we went into lockdown but spent much of it down in Sussex with parents. Sam’s been told his office won’t reopen until January, and he was saying today that the next time he sees his work colleagues it will be almost a year, winter again, with darkness beyond the windows by mid afternoon. It will be like they have lost a year. It’s a bit like one of those fairy stories where you prick your finger and fall under a spell, left in a state of suspended animation, until someone comes along who can free you, usually through love, so maybe the exhortation to be kind will be our salvation, if only we heed it.
More cheerfully I popped into M&S this morning and was hailed enthusiastically by staff who had been at the party on Sunday. They were all positive about it, all had loved it. One young man said it was the best day of the year so far. I asked when it had ended, and he said around eight, with most of the drink drunk. They all thanked me, which was nice but inaccurate and undeserved. It was Jane, Jenny and Davena who had the idea and organised everything. I am so glad they did. I left M&S with a big smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.
Stay safe. Keep well. Be kind.